The work of Dorota Sadovská (born 1973 in Bratislava) deals with aspects of the female body as projection of the self, which has to be regarded vis-à-vis the scrutiny of mass media image production. Moreover, the artist challenges the representation of her own self, whose roles are changing according to the respective medium she chooses for her projects. Mainly perceived in the realm of photography, Sadovská’s work takes up the history of portraiture, from nude to fashion model, and reverts the traditional gaze onto the subject. In relation to the gender-oriented discourse of recent decades, her work focuses on the unconscious layers of technically reproduced image worlds that are assigned the task to represent various layers of a physical (and gendered) reality. The question the artist poses in her projects is whether the ubiquity of circulating images accomplishes the function of depicting reality, or whether the production of each image merely constitutes a manifestation of desire where, according to Jacques Lacan, reality itself only obtains a marginal position. Playing with various levels of identity formation, Sadovská’s photographic projects sometimes put a mirror image to her own physique, which gets deformed or even placed as a pregnant woman’s body on the cover of her own magazine. In Lacan’s psychoanalytical approach, the perception of identity equals the reality represented through the mirror image. When the subject perceives him/herself as an image in the mirror, the representation becomes reverse and simultaneously leads to the apprehension of the self as the Other. This otherness of the image is already indicated on the cover of the artist’s magazine, which bears the title SADO, thus playing with the artist’s name as well as with pornographic imagery. In this way, Sadovská automatically creates desire and relates to Lacan’s non-existence of the reality behind. Yet, the photographs convey the image of the artist’s body and suggest a possible scenario of reality. Thus, the long-contested truth in photography is at stake in the various roles the artist plays for the camera as opposed to the life the person Sadovská lives. The projected personalities of the magazine animate the imaginary life of the depicted person, which can be as fictitious as that of a movie star but also bear witness to the real life of the artist. Sadovská triggers the beholder’s creative imagination by staging several realities, which are necessary constituents of every identity formation.
DOROTA SADOVSKÁ, Painted to Measure No.1, 2010, oil on canvas and mixed media, dimension variable, C-print 18×6.5 cm, technical cooperation: M. Štraneková, photo: P. Čintalan.